Things are moving extremely fast as far as cannabis laws are concerned. It can be hard to keep up with all the new places that are decriminalizing marijuana and which countries are voting to follow suit.
Decriminalization has led to a surge in legal dispensaries and more people using cannabis for medical and recreational uses. Vaping has also exploded in popularity over the last few years. It is seen as a healthier alternative to cigarettes and many people prefer to vape marijuana instead of smoking it the traditional way.
Vaping marijuana is not as straightforward as you might imagine and care might need to be taken depending on your circumstances and where you live.
People have been smoking tobacco leaves for thousands of years. It was in 1798 that the first doctor reported that smoking tobacco was harmful. Dr Benjamin Rush said that smoking was offensive and amoral which is subjective. He did however also state that it could help develop incurable diseases including cancer.
Cigarettes remained popular and indeed many people believed that they were not harmful. In the states doctors were used to advertise the health benefits of smoking. As time has continued the popularity of tobacco has waned. It is now seen as anti-social, harmful and unfashionable. That isn’t to say that people have stopped enjoying nicotine though. Vaping is now a popular way to get a rush of nicotine without the unpleasant smells of cigarettes and ash.
The rise of vaping
The first vaping device may have been invented all the way back to 1927. Joseph Robinson planned and patented an electronic vaporiser that could be used to inhale vapors from medicinal compounds without being burned. Again in 1963 Herbert Gilbert patented an electronic non-tobacco cigarette that created no smoke. Unfortunately no manufacturer was interested in producing the device and so regular smoking continued.
Until 2003 that is. Hon Lik who at the time was a heavy smoker consuming up to 3 packets a day invented the first electronic cigarette. Chinese pharmacist Lik was inspired to invent his device after his father died from lung cancer. He believed if he could invent something that could resemble smoking but with less dangers then he would be able to stop smoking cigarettes.
Vaping arrived in Europe and the UK around 2006 and instantly found a market among smokers who weren’t ready to quit but also felt that cigarettes were damaging their health. Vapers soon found their way to the US too. Today the market is booming. The market is estimated to hit around $47 billion by 2025.
Is vaping weed healthy?
Vaping combined with marijuana has become increasingly popular. Research showed that more than 1/5th of high school seniors have used vaping devices to smoke marijuana in just the past year. However there has been a surge in illnesses and deaths across the US linked to vaping THC.
There have been thousands of lung problems reported and a number of deaths all of which have been associated with vaping THC combined with Vitamin E Acetate. Vitamin E Acetate is a thickening agent that can be added to the vape juice or e-liquid. Most of the cases were linked to purchases made through illegal and dubious channels which raises the importance of using reputable dispensaries/suppliers for marijuana and e-liquids or searching Google for quality places to buy weed online.
This apparently new vaping related illness is called EVALI which is short for E-cigarette or Vaping product use Associated Lung Injury. The symptoms can include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Night sweats
- Low oxygen levels
- Lung failure and even death
With any new product it can take decades before the risks are fully understood and the same is true of vaping. While most people would agree that vaping is safer than smoking and far more sociable it is important to buy your products from reputable sources only.
Which countries have banned vapes?
It is not just the health impact of vaping weed in some regions you may need to check the laws on vaping too. Many countries have not only banned vaping but will hand out fines and even jail sentences for vaping. Going on holiday to Thailand? Taking your vape? Think again. Being in possession of a vaping device in the Land of Smiles can lead to a hefty fine which will dent your holiday money and/or a jail sentence.
Other countries may allow people to use a vape but not to sell it. In other words you will not be arrested for vaping but there are no official outlets supplying the devices. These countries include Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay. Many South East Asian countries have banned vaping including the aforementioned Thailand along with Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. Malaysia allows usage but has banned the sale of e-liquids containing nicotine.
Why would countries ban vaping?
There may be concerns that vaping is attractive to younger people who may not have considered smoking and also perhaps for health concerns of a relatively new product but one other reason is that many countries rely on the tax that cigarette sales generate. Indonesia slapped a 57% tax on vaping devices to help drie smokers towards tobacco based products instead.
Which countries have decriminalized cannabis?
There are many countries now where weed has been decriminalized or carries no fines for small amounts. Countries where you can comfortably smoke generally without problems are Belize, Costa Rica, Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico (if less than 5 grams you should be ok). For a full up to date list you will need to keep searching on Google as legislation is constantly changing all over the states and the rest of the world.
While there are doubts whether vaping THC is dangerous or not there are ways to reduce the risks such as only buying from a local reputable cannabis dispensary in Calgary for example. Check out your local vaping shops and buy quality products and if you are thinking of vaping marijuana then look up the local laws and legislations or you could find yourself in trouble for not only possessing weed but for having a vape too!